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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Text for Page 139

              [newspaper clipping]
      Have we an Irish Baron Among Us?
  THE question �have we an Bourbon among
us?� which agitated the thinking and inquisi-
tive people of this country, when Putnam�s Mag-
azine was first published, six years ago, is com-
pletely eclipsed by a similar speculation, the he-
ro of which is a small penny-a-liner, from the
Emerald Isle, who sometimes has reached the
dignity of writing for some of the magazines, who
contributed to Harper�s Weekly the remarkable
articles �By a Man about Town,� who used to
praise his own little dramatic effusions, (disinter-
restedly, of course,) in the Saturday Press, and
whose story of �the Diamond Lens,� in the
Atlantic Monthly excited no special wonder,
until Mr. Augustus Maverick, of the Daily Times,
came forward with proofs, circumstantial and
positive, that the idea and plot had been originated
with the late William North who had read his
story to the literary conveyancer and had never
published it himself.
  There landed on these shores, in this city, some
seven years ago, a young �man of letters,� who
was chiefly remarkable for his personal resem-
blance to Louis Napoleon�even down to the
shortness of his legs.  Napoleon, however, has
something of a chin, while nature has left this
emigrant almost minus that feature.  A �cousin
to Smith O�Brien,� he was taken up here, and
floated, for a time, (through favor of Mr. Brown,
the inviting Sexton of Grace Church,) on the out-
skirts of that �best society� of which Mrs.
Haight�we mean Mrs. Potiphar is the queen.
Curiously engrafting an imitation of the English
accent upon an Irish tongue as thick as a No-
vember fog, (a brogue so tangible that one could
almost cut it with a knife!) this imminent cha-
racter would talk glibly of his �English procliv-
ities,� which, he said, prevented his sympathis-
ing with the politics of his �distinguished rela-
tive,� Smith O�Brien.  But, after Thomas Fran-
cis Meagher coldly told him, when the relation-
ship was mentioned, that he knew that Smith
O�Brien had no relative named FITZ JAMES DE
COURCY O�BRIEN, there was nothing further
heard of the relationship.
  The hero of this article was one of the staff of
the Daily Times for two or three years, writing
�smart� articles, and translating freely from the
French.  He contrived to get out of this engage-
ment, and has since written very little in the
Daily Times.  He wrote upon the New York
Fortune Tellers, after Doesticks had exhausted
the subject, but it was Doesticks-and-water.  We
think that we recognised his �fine Italian hand�
the other day, in the Daily Times, in a letter
from Boston, signed �Jack Robinson.�  We think
so�though the letter, strange to say, never once
alluded to his armorial bearings, because the
Boston Transcript had gratified the world, a few
days before, by intimating that he had arrived 
in Boston, and had cut New York.  No wonder!
He had not been well used here.  Too sharp to
be done, he was dunned.  Besides, his person had
not been spared.  Mr. George Wilkes had actu-
ally violated the sanctity of his person.  In fact,
shut out from the Century Club and the Bees, in
this city, he has shaken the dust off his feet, and
gone to Boston.
  The world at large have been accustomed to
consider Charles Frederick Briggs, Esquire, sub-
editor of the Daily Times, as a gentleman with
a cynical nature.  As a lively humorist, his
warmest friend or bitterest enemy�if such an
amiable and conciliatory gentleman can have
made an enemy�never did regard him, though,
(overflowing as he is with as much milk of hu-
man kindness as might be worked up into a large
family�s supply of cheese and butter,) every one
has esteemed him as a good-natured anti-bilious
medicine.  Yet what malice prepense might be
presumed from the following article, evidently
from the pen of the pseudo-author of �The Dia-
mond Lens,� which appeared, in all the dignity
of leaded minion, in the Daily Times of Wednes-
  A new claimant for the ancient Irish title and
Barony of Inchiquin is about to appear in the 
person of Mr. Fitz James O�Brien, of this city.
On the death of the last Marquess of Thomond,
Sir Lucius O�Brien, brother to the distinguished
patriot, Mr. Smith O�Brien, assumed the title of
Lord Inchiquin without authority from the Her-
ald�s College or the Crown.  The consequence
has been an order from the Crown prohibiting
this gentleman from appearing at Court under
any title but that of Sir Lucius O�Brien.  These
proceedings naturally awakened investigation,
and Mr. Fitz James O�Brien has just received let-
ters by the Prince Albert, informing him that
immediate steps were being taken to establish
his claim to the vacant Barony.
  Mr. O�Brien is descended in a direct line from
a branch of the Thomond family, whose ances-
tors emigrated to Holland over a century ago.
The last representative of this branch was Count
Otto O�Brien, who for some years was in com-
munication with the father of the present claim-
ant relative to his claim to the title in question.
Count Otto, however, and Mr. O�Brien�s father
both died suddenly, and the matter was dropped.
The count, however, left behind him a valuable
collection of family documents, which are said
fully to establish Mr. O�Brien�s claim to the title,
and competent persons are now engaged in Hol-
land in making the necessary searches.  As it is
possible that in this country there may be some
emigrant Hollanders who have some knowledge
of the said Count Otto O�Brien, we are instructed
that any information regarding him, which may
be forwarded to J. Augustus Page, lawyer, cor-
ner of Chambers street and Broadway, will be
gladly received.               
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